30 July 2013

At the MLB trade deadline, who should buy, sell or hold?

In less than 24 hours, we will arrive at the MLB trade deadline and at that point, Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern, no trades can take place thereafter. Actually that's not true, trades can be made for another month through the waiver wire if players clear through waivers. And trades can even happen after that through the end of the season, but players involved in those deals cannot play in the postseason.

So before I drive away all interest in this post, here are the clubs that I think should buy or sell, or hold their position where they are.

Buy
Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are in striking distance of the Dodgers in a weak NL West this year, and they should put their eggs in that basket with the Wild Card being a little more out of reach. Therefore, they should be aggressive at the deadline on Wednesday and look for them to bring in some pitching, both in the rotation which could use some depth (Bud Norris, anyone?), and in the bullpen where they have struggled to find a solid closer.

Cleveland Indians
The Indians look like a legitimate contender in both the AL Central and in the AL Wild Card and thus they should be willing to get aggressive in order to find some upgrades, as they do have some holes. They may be fine in the rotation, which has been pitching better as of late, but if they can find somebody on the cheap they may pounce. They may want to find an upgrade at third base over Lonnie Chisenhall, who has struggled to get on base, and maybe another reliever as well.

Colorado Rockies
A bit surprised to see the Rockies, who really are not in that much of contention right now, on this list as buyers? I guess I am as well, but here me out. Nobody in the NL West has taken firm control of this division yet, so if the Rockies can get their hands on some pitching, they can make some waves. But perhaps more importantly, they could also buy-in to get somebody who will help them contribute next year.

Los Angeles Dodgers
I feel like the Dodgers are going to buyers at the deadline until I become a member of the AARP (so about 30 years) considering how flush they are in cash right now. And considering how they find themselves atop the NL West with anything but a comfortable lead, even as they are rolling, look for them to be very aggressive tomorrow if possible.

Oakland Athletics
We have seen the A's make one move already in bring Alberto Callapso up I-5, but they did give up one of their top prospects in Grant Green in a surprising move, even as I do like Callapso. Considering how hot and heavy the race is out in the West and in the Wild Card, don't be surprised if Oakland makes another move and makes one for a pitcher to bring in more depth to their rotation, particularly as they missed out on Jake Peavy.

Pittsburgh Pirates
I think we could see the Pirates buy harder than they have the last two years when they have made solid moves that don't set off ripples. They do have a strong farm system that can take a hit to bring in a big bopper, either in right field or at first base, and maybe even both. Their bullpen has been tremendous this year but has seen a lot of innings, so maybe a little reinforcement there as well. This is a playoff club in all likelihood, and they should act like it accordingly.

Texas Rangers
The Rangers have already made an aggressive move to acquire Matt Garza from the Cubs to bolster their rotation to strengthen their chances at pushing into the playoffs and considering how tight the race is not just in the division but in the Wild Card, I think they should push forward and continue to be aggressive. I think they should look to add another bat, whether it be bringing Michael Young back from Philadelphia or an idea that I find to be rather intriguing, dangling Joe Nathan to get a bat in return. Yes, Nathan has been awesome this year, but closers are replaceable and the back of the Texas bullpen is solid.

Sell
Chicago Cubs
The rebuilding process is going to continue on the North Side and thus, the Cubs are going to sell if possible. You can count on Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer looking to ship out overachievers like reliever Kevin Gregg and Nate Schierholtz and try to pick up what they can in return. I'd be pretty surprised if they dealt Jeff Samardzija but if somebody is willing to pay a hefty price for him, why not?

Chicago White Sox
Well, I think that last year was a fluke, but perhaps it was a sign when the team fell on their face when they had a chance to win the AL Central. Only the Astros have a worse record than the South Siders do and thus it is easy for general manager Rick Hahn to sell. Jesse Crain and Jake Peavy are both on their way out of town already, and Alex Rios, Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez may be headed out as well.

Houston Astros
If teams are willing to give the Astros something for anything on their roster, they have to consider the offer. They are not going anywhere this year, they are not going anywhere next year so there is no reason to hold onto anything on this roster. Look at Jose Veras, he was just dealt to Detroit for some prospects when he was picked off the road somewhere for nothing. I expect Bud Norris to head out of Space City and possibly joined by others.

Miami Marlins
It looks like with their young and talented rotation that next year could be exciting for the Marlins, but unfortunately for them, this is not next year. Therefore, with the team languishing in last place, they should sell, although that will unsurprisingly not include Giancarlo Stanton. Do look for somebody from their bullpen to be shipped out, in all likelihood Chad Qualls.

Milwaukee Brewers
Did the poo hit the fan this year or what for the Brew Crew as it has been a huge disappointment and when you couple in the Ryan Braun mess, it has not been a fun year. Therefore, they will be unloading come deadline time and while everybody is looking at the talented yet struggling Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse is likely all but gone and perhaps John Axford will go to somebody that needs help in the pen.

Minnesota Twins
Thankfully, the Twinks can enjoy being out of the cellar thanks to the White Sox crashing and burning this year, but they still are on place to finish with well over 90 losses this year. It appears that this is the year that Justin Morneau gets shipped out. Yes his contract is less than desirable and his bat has fallen off but the team appears ready to eat a decent amount of the contract in order to hopefully get something worthwhile in return.

Philadelphia Phillies
I don't think that Ruben Amaro, Jr. is ever going to admit it, but he really should sell. This aging club is going nowhere fast and if the team doesn't start the rebuilding process sooner rather than later, we could see some lost years in Philadelphia. Keeping Cliff Lee in town is fine with me considering his contract is manageable but if the club gets a great offer, they should consider it (as well as his partial no-trade clause). I also don't see the beloved Chase Utley leaving but in all likelihood, Michael Young, Jon Papelbon and even "Chooch" Carlos Ruiz will be out.

San Francisco Giants
Well every rose does have its thorn. Sometimes you find yourself raising the Commissioner's Trophy, sometimes you find yourself in last place in the division, as the Giants do now. Considering that this club is not exactly full of spring chickens, and the fact that their chances of making the postseason are slim, they should be looking to sell right now. I'm not sure if they can jettison Tim Lincecum, but I think Hunter Pence is a real possibility.

Hold
Atlanta Braves
The Braves have already made a shrewd move to help out a reliever corps hurt by injury by bringing in Scott Downs, who bring in a key lefty specialist. Now the club, who should be getting a number of guys back from injury at some point, is in a safe place with a sizable lead atop the NL East and unless they think they can make a big move to make a run at the World Series, they should just sit still.

Baltimore Orioles
For a club that is a little bit behind in the race to win the division, I don't see the Orioles making much of a big splash just to get into the Wild Card, which is such a crapshoot that I think teams are going to go hard to avoid it and win their division. Of course they could make a minor move like to bring in a DH but I think they will not fret if they do reel in anything worthwhile come deadline time.

Boston Red Sox
Initially I had the Red Sox as buyers but in the aftermath of the three-team Jake Peavy deal with the White Sox and the Tigers, I think they are done making moves. Peavy does come at a high price in that the club had to send talented infielder Jose Iglesias to Detroit but for a rotation that was missing Clay Buchholz and didn't have Jon Lester clicking until relatively recently, it's a solid gamble with a guy like Peavy who is a very good starter when healthy.

Cincinnati Reds
Another club that should feel pretty comfortable about their positioning for the postseason, the Reds do not have that many needs and therefore there should not be a rush to make a big move. And the Reds are already poised to get some additions to their roster with a bunch of guys coming off the disabled list in Sean Marshall, Johnny Cueto, Ryan Ludwick, Jon Broxton and Ryan Hanigan, so they will stand pat.

Detroit Tigers
The Tigers had themselves an elite power combination in the middle of their order in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, have a balanced rest of their lineup and some strong pitching at the front of their rotation. The concern were with their bullpen, but they addressed that over the weekend by bringing in Jose Veras, who will allow Joaquin Benoit to close. And now after the Jake Peavy deal, they acquired talented infielder Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox and that gives them insurance for if/when shortstop Jhonny Peralta gets suspended.

Kansas City Royals
I understand that the Royals are playing good baseball right now, winning six in a row, and sitting at .500, there understandably is pressure to go all-in and make a run at their first postseason trip since 1985. But they need a reality check because they are not going to make the playoffs, besides some spectacular run. It would be a mistake if they spent a solid amount of resources to bring a big piece if they are not realistically making the playoffs. And if they get a good offer for Ervin Santana, they should consider it.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
There is no question that Anaheim has been a big disappointment yet again, but they are putting out signals that they want to be buyers when they should be selling to build for the future and replenish a weakened farm system. However, there is a major problem in that they have nothing to sell. It is not a bad idea to hold off until the offseason and hope some guys rebound next year to make a run next year.
Update: They traded Alberto Callapso to Oakland and got one of their top prospects in infielder Grant Green. That's a nice deal.

New York Mets
You know what was great? When Mets fans started to have that thought that they could actually contend and maybe make a push for the postseason. Unsurprisingly, that blew up in their faces and so they will look to next year. I don't think that the club would get anything worthwhile for Marlon Byrd, who considering how cheap he is, there isn't a reason why he couldn't stick around, and I also don't see the market there for Bobby Parnell.

New York Yankees
The Yankees are in a tough spot here, not just because their odds at winning the division are slipping by the day, but they can't really sell because much of the club is overpriced, aging or both, nor can they really buy since they do not have much to offer other clubs in terms of prospects. Does anybody really want Joba Chamberlain that badly? And I think the club should hold onto Phil Hughes because the pitching depth is just not there. Their only chances to acquire guys is to bring on guys like Alfonso Soriano who come with big contracts that they don't mind paying.

San Diego Padres
The Padres have been fine this year, but frankly, they are not a playoff team. That said, there is not a reason for them to blow everything up and start over, because they do have some key pieces and are looking to build for something positive next year. Ideally they would like some starting pitching but I don't see the desirable pieces that they are willing to part with in order to do so.

Seattle Mariners
The Mariners do have some pieces that could be worthwhile to other clubs in guys like Mike Morse, Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez, Tom Wilhemsen or even Oliver Perez (how hilarious is that), and on first glance, considering the club isn't making the postseason, one could see them selling off. But considering the amount of pressure there is on general manager Jack Zduriencik this year, as well as the fact that those guys are all relatively affordable, they will likely stand by.

St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have solidified themselves, at least in my humble opinion, as the favorite in the National League to get to the World Series, as they have a deep rotation and a lineup without many holes of any sort. And save for some posturing to force others to show their cards, I have not heard much speculation around them doing anything but stand put and quite frankly, they do not have a reason to change up anything.

Tampa Bay Rays
By the nature of their situation as a small-market club without a blank check to go crazy at the deadline, the Rays have never been big players at this time, and there is no reason to expect differently this year considering how strong the club has been playing of late. Tampa is streaking and looks to be one of the favorites to get to the Fall Classic, particularly as their pitching starts to come around.

Toronto Blue Jays
Yet another club that made a big push in the offseason that ended up disappointing this year, the Jays are left with not that much pieces to ship out and with a pretty slim chance at making a run into the fall. But I don't see a reason for the club to blow up and start over once again because it makes more sense for the team to hope some disappointments and some who have struggled with injuries get their act together next year.

Washington Nationals
Nobody has been a bigger disappointment this year than perhaps the Nationals, who have sputtered to a a 52-54 mark and sit nine games back of the Braves in the division after being thought of as a World Series contender. I have already stated their issues at length right here but while there is the temptation to make a move for a big bat and improve their poor offense, considering the fact that they are going nowhere this year they should just wait for the offseason and build toward bouncing back next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment